by BOBBI KLETTKE, Communications Manager

The methodology has been finalised. The pilot testing is complete. And data collection officials are trained.

Health Action International’s study into the price, availability and affordability of more than 30 sexual and reproductive health (SRH) commodities is now rolling out across all three of our study countries—Uganda, where the study was piloted earlier this year, and Kenya and Zambia, where HAI’s training of in-country data collectors wrapped earlier this month.

The data collectors are now visiting healthcare facilities in the public, private and mission sectors to survey the price and availability of each selected commodity. And by speaking with  representatives in each healthcare facility, they’re also finding out what they think are the main challenges to providing SRH commodities to patients and what can be done about them.

“We’re fortunate to have an incredibly motivated group of data collectors from Uganda, Kenya and Zambia help us get to the bottom of this important issue,” said HAI’s Gemma Buckland Merrett, who devised the study’s methodology and led the recent data collection training sessions. “These individuals know the study’s methodology inside out, just as they know their countries. We hope that, through this work, we’ll help strengthen their research skills so they continue to conduct research, like this, and contribute to the evidence base on SRH commodity access in the years to come.”

Gemma expects data collection to take approximately three months—one for each country. Once complete, she’ll then work with her research team members at HEPS Uganda, MeTA Kenya and MeTA Zambia to analyse the data and extract results and recommendations for policy change. HEPS and MeTA will then use the evidence to advocate for improved access to SRH commodities at national, regional and international levels.

“If we achieve this,” says Gemma, “we’ll be helping to ensure that no one needlessly suffers due to a lack of access to SRH commodities.”

HAI’s study is being conducted as part of its role in the Health Systems Advocacy (HSA) Partnership, an initiative launched in 2016 with Amref Flying Doctors/Amref Health Africa, the African Centre for Global Health and Social Transformation (ACHEST), Wemos and the Dutch Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation. Together, the partners are contributing to the building of stronger health systems so people in sub-Saharan Africa can equitably access high-quality SRH services.

More information on the HSA Partnership is available in this fact sheet.